CIA FIRST sat down with Dr. Poonam Shokeen, CIA FIRST MSHS STEM Curriculum Coordinator to discuss the recent trip to the STEM Festival and what is means for our school.
Why did CIA FIRST decide to partake this year?
This year CIA FIRST STEM department decided to partake in STEM Festival because we recognise it as an amazing opportunity for our students to showcase their projects outside of the school environment. Events like this can also serve as a catalyst to encourage other students to get more interested in STEM subjects. It also gives students an event to work towards every year and is a huge confidence builder for students as they get the opportunity to develop their presentation skills outside of their peer network.
What projects were on show?
This was Cambodia's first-ever GREEN STEM Festival. It focused on solving environmental problems with STEM.
CIA FIRST submitted a total of 32 projects (17 on day one and 15 on day 2) were on display by CIA FIRST in the “Exhibit a project category”. Some of these were the performance tasks of the units done in the class. Examples are the thermos bottle made by students of grade 6, the model of sustainable ecosystem made by grade 7, property development project made by grade 9. However, others were independent projects, of which the original ideas conceived by the students were worked upon; under the guidance of the teachers.
What happened during the festival?
Students got a chance to share their learning experiences in the classroom with the visitors. They explained their projects with great enthusiasm. One of the project of Grade 7-Sustainable Ecosystem was selected as one of the top five exhibitions of the day. The students displaying this project (Chum Sokteang and Lising Sok) were given a special chance to present their project to Laura Mam.
Four students of grade 11 (AP music), under the guidance of Teacher Martin performed the song "The Big Bang theory" (In the Perform STEM category category).
In the Environmental art contest category, we submitted 15 pieces for artwork each for junior and senior category. Two pieces of artwork from each category were selected for display on the final day of the Festival. Ung Fairy of Grade 2 won second place for her art work in the junior category.
What were the lessons learned from this experience?
The students got an opportunity to look at the projects from various other schools. In contrast to most schools, the projects of CIA were based on authentic work, done on a problem assigned by the teacher in the class. Students had worked on these projects for a long period of time. Participation in the STEM Festival was another opportunity for the students to imbibe the habits of mind.
While working on their artwork, the students reflected on their daily habits, made new resolutions to become more eco friendly. Similarly, students of middle and high school became more conscious about the environment, and this effect would be long lasting in their lives.
What is in store for next year?
Next year, we plan to participate on a larger scale and in all the categories.